~ Monday, September 12, 2005 ~
I didn't know about the beacons. Everyone who's been living here must have seen them every year since 2002, but I only discovered them tonight, as I walked westward on my way home. It was around 11:30 pm and I saw a searchlight to the west, a bit fuzzy and indistinct, but streaming straight upward. I had my guesses, but a quick call to Rob confirmed my suspicions: it's a 9/11 memorial, two search lights (though they looked like one from my angle) shining up from where the twin towers stood. There was a guy sitting on his front steps and gazing out at them contemplatively while he smoked a cigarette, and I found the mood was contagious. I kept walking north and west toward the beacons, right past my apartment and on toward 5th ave, and then 4th, drifting around in search of a point where I could gaze at them without the intrusive halogen streetlamps dimming their announcement. I wanted to see them pop out against the night sky, searing blue-white against clouded velvet, but there were too many visual distractions between us for them to hit me at full strength. I was sure they'd be extinguished at midnight, and was at least hoping to see them as they winked out (and, if I was quick enough, to catch the ripple of darkness that would ascend from the horizon up to the stars as they did) but midnight came and passed, and then it was 12:03, and then 12:05 and they were still shouting upward, and no sign of needing to pause for breath. I turned around and walked back home, glancing at them occasionally over my shoulder. They were following me, just as the moon follows nighttime travellers. I can see them out my window as I type this, and I like to imagine them as candles, keeping watch over the city until dawn in solemn vigil.
~ prattled by Miriam at 12:36 a.m. [+]
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